Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Released: 25th of February 2016
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.
But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…
Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.
It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.
What I Have to Say
I don't even know how to begin to sum up this amazing book. It is just so important. Alice Oseman has put into writing so many things that people have been avoiding saying for years. Things like the way our school system just doesn't give teenagers any other option than A Levels and university, simply by not saying that the other options are out there. How they are making teenagers feel like not getting good grades at GCSE will ruin their lives completely. And not only that, but she has dared to write a book where a boy and a girl main character are friends and never get together or have any romance with each other. She even used the word asexual.
Not only did she manage to include all these extremely important topics, but she did so while creating a beautiful and moving story. A story about identity, taking the main character, Frances on a journey of finding herself, learning what she actually likes and is good at outside of what school has taught her that she has to be.
This story has so much mystery, suspense and tragedy that it overwhelms me in a way that makes it hard to write about just how wonderful it is, because there's just so much that I could say. It's reminded me how great Alice Oseman is as a writer and what I originally liked about Solitaire, while also going on to achieve something even better.
This book is definitely one that will stay with me and that I will force on all my friends.
I think that teenagers looking towards university and finding out what they want in life should read this book.
Students facing GCSEs, especially if they're bad at tests should read this book.
And perhaps most importantly, anyone who feels that university or even A Levels may not be the right path for them, but doesn't know what other options are out there, should very definitely read this book.
My thanks go to Netgalley and Harper Collins for providing me with this review copy,